Friday, June 13, 2014

The Zen (of Social Media)

I have to confess something. Though I´m one of those people who have deliberately tried his best to chain technology to work for me instead of holding me on it´s grips, I have a bad habit of using my tablet for reading news and books after I´ve gone to bed. As I´m fully aware that too much of that light is quite inevitably fucking up your hormone system -and your sleep in the process- I´m using the screen in the dimmest setting possible and have dark background for the apps I use for all reading. However, there´s one thing I won´t do with it in the bed- and actually pretty much nowhere, and it´s called interacting. That´s something I do with my wife instead.

At some point, thanks to mobile internet and social media, we privileged folks with smartphones and whatnot have developed a very bad and stressful habit of being always reachable by anyone at any time. Due to the endless need for the human brain to be liked and accepted, we crave for thumbs, retweets and attention like our lives depended on those. We crank up the volumes of our communication devices so loud it´s humanly possible to not to miss a mention in Twitter or getting notified of that random instahorribilized and color- distorted picture of Jimmy´s feet on a beach. But is our life so meaningless without the social media we couldn´t shut it down for certain periods? Do we need to get constantly reminded of John´s birthday or Anna´s vegan food party at her neighbourhood, 150 kilometers from your home (where you´re not going anyway)? The social media- as useful as it can be at it´s best - can also be quite a burden for people who cannot separate their time online from their time offline. A research shows how much it can distract you from your work and productivity instead of being a "break" (like it should)- and I don´t personally see any difference between work or home for what it comes to getting distracted per se. To put it straight, if it distracts you at work, it most likely is doing it at your home as well.

(A late add to this blogtext is an interesting article I got from Frank Apodaca at concerning the same topics of  things that affect our sleep in the modern world, which you can read here. It concerns many other things than only the "always online"- syndrome and the blue light, and I strongly suggest you to check it out.)

During regular workday I´m taking care of emails and also interact with people in Facebook, Twitter and this little blog every once in a while when I have time and energy for it. After the computer is shut down, there´s a fat chance you won´t hear from me until the next day or the day after that. I have email in my phone and tablet for emergencies, but they are set not to fetch anything automatically. I have no social media installed on any of my portable devices, and am basically unreachable from the point I leave the office for anyone who doesn´t have my phone number. In this time and age, we could probably find anyone at any time we could interact with, so I just choose to opt out from that because I already have three other people at home to do that with me. With the possibilities social media and technology bring us, I still choose them to serve me and not being their humble henchman instead.

Another thing why I´m not so keen on being available at any time for anyone is privacy. Being the tin foil- helmeted warrior that I am, I´m extremely anal on my privacy everywhere in the internet (and quite frankly- you should too) and am not very fond of spreading my personal life around any more that I choose. In the social media, my Facebook- account is only meant for friends I know personally and for interacting with people who do not belong to that particular group I use Twitter and this blog instead. Even though I´m quite far away from being a "public figure", I still get a lot of friend requests from people who like my music, but I just don´t wish to share my personal, boring life with just anyone in the world. So I use these other abovementioned channels for that instead.
For me, accepting a random Facebook- friend request is the equivalent of giving my phone number and home address to anyone. It´s already a tough battle fighting the corporations stealing your data and selling it to advertisers, so I choose to not make it even tougher by handing my private information and life to everyone on a golden plate.

But please don´t get me wrong- though being the raging self- proclaimed elitist misanthrope that I am, there´s still a soft spot (pun intended) in me which likes to interact with people. Otherwise there wouldn´t be much point writing this, don´t you think? It´s just that when I opt out from the interactive flood, I opt out. I sign out, clear my cookies and close the browser.

Well....ok, I´ll just quickly check out Twitter before that. Hush!